Generic Operational Control Manual (Dispatcher Manual) for Air Operators - TP 13561

Edition 2000

Table of Contents

This manual is the property of (Name of air Operator) and any disclosure of its contents to others is given in strictest confidence.

It must not be reproduced or used in flight operations or other commercial enterprises by any person, agency or corporation without specific approval and permission of the (Director of Flight Operations).

Any questions with respect to use of this manual or information contained herein shall be directed to:

(Name of Air Operator Address and Phone number)


This manual in conjunction with the (name of Air Operator) Flight Operations Manual contain all the pertinent information, and is intended to meet all Transport Canada Regulations and Standards. Instructions contained in this manual shall govern the conduct of the Operational Control System of (Name of Air Operator). Where operating procedures and performance data presentations differ from those of Transport Canada, such revised procedures and modified performance presentations must be approved by Transport Canada.

When operations are scheduled with certain airplane or airplane system components unserviceable, the airplane must be operated accordance with the limitations stated in the FOM and as amended by the Minimum Equipment List (MEL). Maintenance will install placards at appropriate locations in the airplane advising of unserviceable equipment. Dispise the Captain whenever the airplane is dispatched utilizing MEL relief.

When operation is scheduled with certain secondary airframe and engine parts missing, the airplane must be operated in accordance with the limitation stated in the FOM and as amended by the Configuration Deviation List (CDL). Dispatch will advise the Captain whenever the airplane is dispatched in accordance with the CDL.

This manual is the property of (Name of Air Operator) and any disclosure of its contents to others is given in strictest confidence. It must not be reproduced or used in any way except with the specific approval and permission of the (Director of Flight Operations).

Any questions with respect to use of this manual or information contained herein shall be directed to the (Director Flight Operations).


This Flight Dispatcher Manual (FDM) has been prepared by (Name of air operator). The purpose of this manual is to:

  • Provide the necessary operating limitations, procedures, performance and systems information the qualified flight dispatcher requires to safely and efficiently exercise operational control for (Name of air operator).
  • Serve as a review guide for use in recurrent training and Flight Dispatcher Competency checks.
  • Establish standardized procedures and practices as outlined in Transport Canada's Commercial Air Services Standards (CASS).

The FDM is structured in (6 chapters) containing (list the chapter titles).

The FDM will be periodically revised to incorporate pertinent procedural and system information changes. Items of a more critical nature will be incorporated in operational bulletins and distributed in a timely manner. In all cases, such revisions and changes will remain compatible with the Commercial Air Services Standards (CASS).

List of Effective Pages

Section Page Revision Date

Revision Record

Formal revisions to this manual are issued periodically by the Flight Operations Department to provide current policies and information not previously furnished.

Each formal revision will be accompanied by a new List of Effective Pages (LEP) and a Transmittal Sheet containing the revision number, date and filing instructions. The person filing the revision should enter the revision number, its date and initial the appropriate column below. Persons filing the revision should enter the amendment sequentially. New amendments should not be entered until the previous amendments have been entered. Once the revision is filed, the currency of the manual should then be checked by comparing the new LEP to the pages contained in your manual. If a disagreement is noted or pages are found to be missing, contact Flight Operations immediately.

Formal Revision Record
Revision Number Revision Date Initials


We would like your suggestions and/or comments for improving the manual. This manual should facilitate your day-to-day operation, a fact that is of concern to us. We have limits in the design and printing process, but if a change is needed, as indicated by your response, we will change the things we can. If a problem exists and you don't have the solution, state the problem; no formality is expected. Please forward your recommendations to the (Manager of Flight Dispatch).

Additional suggestions pages will automatically be provided to replace the ones you use for forwarding your suggestions.

Please:  Keep us advised.

(Name of air Operator)
Attention: (Name of Manager)
FDM, Page No.

Chapter 1 - Introduction

1.01 Preface

This Flight Dispatch Manual is enabled by and consistent with (Name of air operator) Company involved with the operations of (Name of air operator) aircraft to perform their duties and responsibilities with a high degree of safety.

Operational control is conducted in compliance with the applicable Transport Canada issued Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) and Commercial Air Services Standards (CASS). There shall be no deviations from applicable CARs or CASS unless approved by Transport Canada. Operations conducted under this manual have been approved by Transport Canada as being in compliance with all pertinent regulatory source documents of Transport Canada.

Dispatchers must be thoroughly familiar with the content of this manual as it pertains to their areas of responsibility. All dispatchers are charged with having a good working knowledge of all regulations and other (Name of air operator) manuals pertinent to the exercise of their Dispatcher Certificates.

1.02 Authority

The information, instructions, policies and procedures contained in this manual are binding on all (Name of air operator) Operational Control and Flight Operations personnel. (Name of air operator) policies maybe more restrictive than the Transport Canada approved regulations and standards but no policy in this manual may be less restrictive than the regulations or standards set forth by Transport Canada.

1.03 Definitions and Abbreviations

The following definitions apply as used throughout this manual:

  • include - means to include but is not limiting.
  • shall - is used in the imperative sense. It is to be construed and understood as binding or mandatory.
  • may - is used in a permissive sense. It means the desire or method is not mandatory
  • "co-authority dispatch" - means a flight where the flight dispatcher and the pilot-in-command share responsibility for Flight Watch.
  • "flight watch" - means maintaining current information on the progress of the flight and monitoring all factors and conditions that might affect the Operational Flight Plan.
  • pilot's self-dispatch - means a flight where the pilot-in-command is solely responsible for Flight Watch.
  • Complex Operations - means operations where any two of the following conditions exist;
    • the air operator operates more than 6 aeroplanes having a passenger-seating configuration of 20 or more and a maximum gross take-off weight of 45,455 kg (100, 000 lbs.) or more;
    • the air operator operates more than 18 flights (constituting 18 take-offs and 18 landings) per 24 hour period,
    • the air operator's operations are mixed domestic and international.
  • Communications:
    • Timely communication means the ability to establish communications domestically within thirty minutes of first trying and internationally within one hour when the flight is in cruise.
    • Direct communications means the ability of the Flight Dispatcher and Pilot-in-Command to communicate using the air operator's facilities, an electronic data link facility, or a facility operated by a third party.
  • PIC - Pilot-in-command, Captain
  • FD - Flight Dispatcher.
  • FOO - Fight Operations Officer.
  • COM - Company Operations Manual.
  • MEL - Minimum Equipment List.
  • OFP - Operational Flight Plan.
  • DRM - Dispatch Resource Management.

1.04 Time References

All references to time, including dates, are based on Universal Time Coordinated (UTC) unless otherwise indicated.

1.05 Gender Reference

All references to persons in this manual designated both sexes and whenever the male gender is used, it shall apply to both female and male.

1.06 Property

This manual is the property of (Name of air operator). It shall not be reproduced nor used in any manner, except with the specific approval and permission of (name of person giving authority).

1.07 Control

Control and currency of this manual are the joint responsibility of the offices of the DFO (Director Flight Operations). No alterations, changes, or deviations are authorized without prior approval from this office.

1.08 Revisions

Revisions to this manual are prepared by the Flight Dispatch department and revised under the direction of the: Director Flight Operations and Manager Dispatch.

Each addition to or amendment of the Flight Dispatch manual must be approved by Transport Canada prior to general distribution to concerned Operational Control personnel.

Revised pages are distributed to all manual holders, it is required that all manual holders insert the revised pages in a timely manner. A list of effective pages is provided with each revision to enable verification of currency and completeness.

1.09 Manual Organization

This manual is organized in a phase-of-flight format, following the sequence of a normal domestic flight.

Material that is not general to all operations or is unique to a particular operation or does not occur routinely on a domestic flight is covered in separate chapters, apart from the phase-of-flight format. A chapter table of contents appears at the beginning of each chapter. The manual also contains a list of effective pages, index, amendment record and chapter of definitions and abbreviations.

1.10 Personal Manuals

Flight Dispatcher (and Assistant Flight Dispatcher) personnel shall each be assigned a personal copy of the following flight operating manuals:

Example of manuals

  • Flight Dispatch Standard Operating Procedures Manual
  • Company Flight Operations Manual.

It is the responsibility of each manual holder to review and remain knowledgeable of all revision amendments. Timely amending of all personal manuals is mandatory.

It is the responsibility of each Flight Dispatch employee to return all manuals in his possession to the Manager Dispatch when his services are terminated, either finally or for a temporary period when he is transferred to another classification where such manuals are not required.

1.11 Information Bulletins

Information bulletins are changes to this manual or the operational policies of (Name of air operator). All bulletins must be read by the dispatchers prior to shift changeover. A Flight Dispatch Bulletin is intended to provide a timely method of addressing operational issues. They are issued to clarify, standardize, or modify existing procedures or policies, or to provide new information when necessary. Compliance with their contents is mandatory. The information bulletins are located (where? this can be a book, manual or computer system) in the Dispatch office. A list of effective bulletins accompanies each bulletin issued and is located (where). A check of the effective bulletins will be made (at the first of each month) against bulletins, discarding those no longer effective. The dispatchers must register in the appropriate area (where) indicating the information has been read and understood. When the content of a bulletin has been incorporated into the manual or is no longer effective, the bulletin will be deleted. Changes to operational policies have been approved by Transport Canada.

1.12 Information Circulars

A Flight Dispatch Information circular is intended to address all operational issues which are not a standard operating procedure. For example, when the operational weights are changed on an aircraft due to a landing gear change, or when a navigational aid is scheduled to be unserviceable for a long duration and an alternative route is established. All circulars are located (where or is it a separate section following the Information Bulletins) and are issued in a numeric sequence. Flight Dispatchers are required to initial new circulars and review all circulars they are not familiar with prior to assuming responsibility for shift.

Chapter 2 - Operational Control

2.01 Organization Chart



(this section should have a description of the personnel shown on the organization chart and must include responsibilities and duties. Air operator's may have additional personnel specializing in certain areas example Training Dispatcher, chief dispatch, etc. The example below is a simple outline and should be expanded to reflect the air operators organization)

2.02 Operations Manager (operators may use other names Director Flight Operations etc.)

Reports to:  CEO

Responsible for:

(use the following statement if the air operator is using a title other than Operations Manager)

The position of Director Flight Operations shall for interpretation under the Canadian Aviation Regulations be considered synonymous with the position of Operations Manager as defined therein.

The Operations manager is the Senior officer of, and responsible for, the overall operation of (Name of air operator) Flight Operations Department, with direct administrative, functional and technical responsibility for issues of operational control as performed by the Operational Control (Flight Dispatch) organization.

The Operations Manager provides administrative, functional and technical direction to the Manager, Flight Dispatch relative to the safe and proper execution of the Flight Dispatch Pre-departure Preparation and Flight Watch functions.

On day of flight, the actual exercising of operational control is delegated by the Operations Manager directly to the Pilot-in-Command and to the designated Flight Dispatcher through the Manager, Flight Dispatch.

The Operations Manager is also responsible for the ongoing liaison with Transport Canada and other international regulatory groups concerning flight operations matters involving the Operational Control (Flight Dispatch/Flight Watch) organization.

2.03 Manager, Flight Dispatch

The Manager Flight Dispatcher is a qualified dispatcher and maintains competency as per CASS 725.124

Reports to:  Operations Manager

Responsible for:

  • Providing day-to-day administrative, functional and technical direction to the Flight Dispatch and Load Planning organizations on behalf of the Operations Manager (DFO).
  • Liaison with the Operations Coordination Department relative to the impact of Operational Control upon Operations Coordination activities and requirements.
  • The development, implementation and enforcement of operational control standards, policies and procedures pertaining to the Flight Dispatch function, in keeping with all Safety, Transport Canada, Corporate and Operations Coordination requirements.
  • Providing flight operational support through Dispatch services including, but not limited to, Flight Planning, Flight Watch, Weather Briefing, and communications as required by the Canadian Aviation Regulations section 725.20 and those applicable sections of the Flight Operations Manual.
  • Ensuring that all Flight Dispatch personnel are provided with adequate training, checking and route familiarization suitable to the position being held within the Flight Dispatch organization.
  • Ensuring that Company flights are safely and efficiently planned, cleared, and monitored in accordance with established standards and regulations.
  • The initiation, maintenance, application and future development of Flight Dispatch Standard Operating Procedures Manual and all other manuals and documents relating to the Flight Dispatch function.
  • Development and implementation of standard operating procedures to ensure safe operations and compliance with the CARS, as directed by the Operations Manager.
  • Monitoring and measuring Flight Dispatcher performance relative to their knowledge and understanding of standards and procedures.
  • Maintaining complete and accurate records of Flight Dispatcher evaluations and training.
  • Providing work schedules which ensure adequate and efficient Flight Dispatcher staffing.
  • Determining Flight Dispatcher training requirements and the development and delivery of training courses and criteria.
  • Managing and ensuring the ongoing integrity and operational capacity/capability of all Flight Dispatch technical support systems.
  • Preparing the operating and capital expenditure budgets relative to Flight Dispatch.
  • Liaison with external agencies which may affect Operations Co-ordination.
  • The receipt, validation and upgrading of airport reference information.

2.04 Flight Dispatcher

Reports to:  Manager, Flight Dispatch


A Flight Dispatcher, qualified as per Canadian Aviation Regulations section CAR 705.110 and CASS 725.20 AND CASS 725.124 assigned the responsibility of exercising safe and efficient operational control over (name of air operator) flights in conjunction with the Pilot-in-Command, on behalf of the Operations Manager.

Responsible for:

Exercising operational control in a Complex Type A (or Type B) Operational Control System CASS 725.20.

  • Exercising operational control on a co-authority basis with the pilot-in-command, and for the joint responsibility of the safe efficient planning and monitoring of a flight.
  • The developing, reviewing, authorizing, issuing and revising, as required, of the Operational Flight Plan for all scheduled and nonscheduled flights inclusive of training and test flight operations, in keeping with Safety, Regulatory, Customer Service, and Corporate fiscal requirements.
  • Authorizing the release of an aircraft to operate in accordance with the terms and conditions established by the Operational Flight Plan.
  • Analyzing operational conditions and identify any opportunities that may constrain impede or benefit operational capabilities inclusive of, but not limited to weather, facilities, Air Traffic Control, and aircraft performance.
  • Performing Operational Flight Watch and for determining if changes to operational and meteorological conditions may affect the safety of flights within a prescribed area or on assigned routes, and for communicating those changes to the Pilot-in-Command.
  • Formulating and implementing revised Operational Flight Plans when conditions warrant, and for communicating the revised plans to the Pilot-in-Command.
  • Analyzing operational and meteorological conditions to evaluate and determine the safest and most efficient minimum fuel requirement.
  • When requested or deemed necessary, to provide the Pilot-in-Command with a thorough and professional flight crew briefing, covering all significant information which may impact the operation of his flight.
  • Soliciting, interpreting, and maintaining current flight and field condition reports to provide flight crews with the latest operational information.
  • Capturing up-to-date flight progress information of assigned flight movements (Flight Watch) and to ensure that the flight movement information is both current and accurate.
  • Providing Weight and Balance (if applicable) with a flight release, which includes total fuel requirements and aircraft weight limitations that maximizes revenue payload potential while satisfying all Safety standards.
  • Communicating to Air Traffic Control Services all Operational Flight Plan requirements.
  • Initiating Accident Alarm Procedures, and assessing and issuing Flight Incident Category Reports, as required, inclusive of the Corporate notification process and maintaining a written log during the incident.
  • Resolving with Maintenance Control, the pilot-in-command, Flight Operations Management Pilots as required, problems caused by any aircraft deviation from standard which may limit or impact flight operational capabilities, and to communicate any operational limitations to the Operations Co-ordination and respective operating Branches, as required.
  • Apprising Maintenance Control, Operations Coordination, other affected Flight Dispatchers, and Flight Operations Management Pilots if warranted, of any reported deviations from standard which occur during flight and which could impact down line scheduling integrity.
  • During irregular operations, congruent when practical with the Pilot-in-Command and in consultation with the Operations Coordination implementing flight delays when conditions warrant, recommending flight cancellations, and initiating alternative plans.
  • Initiating and coordinating airport handling when diversions to off line airports are required.
  • Communication with the Operations Coordination providing timely analysis of meteorological risk which may reasonably be anticipated to impact local and/or system operations including aircraft on layover.
  • Providing and communicating revised Operational Flight Plans to optimize revenue payload potential while maintaining adequate Safety standards.
  • Administering, managing, and implementing economic petroleum policies to maximize corporate profitability, subject to operational constraints and within proper Safety parameters.
  • Securing curfew breaks, as required, from Transport Canada during irregular operations.
  • Coordinating all planning aspects of both test and training flights.
  • Ensuring, on day-of-flight, that the Flight Dispatch function performs safe and efficient Operational Control in accordance with all Canadian and foreign governmental rules and regulations, Company flight operating manuals, and Corporate policies and procedures.
  • Liaison with the Flight Dispatch Manager, for the purposes of maintaining dispatch standard operating procedures and all applicable sections of the Company Flight Operations Manual.

2.05 Flight Dispatcher and Pilot-in-command

Prior to acceptance by the pilot-in-command of the Operational Flight Plan (OFP), operational control, as delegated by the Operations Manager in the company operations manual, is exercised jointly by the flight dispatcher and the pilot-in-command of a flight.

After the pilot-in-command accepts the Operational Flight Plan, the flight dispatcher and the pilot-in-command share responsibility for Flight Watch. The flight dispatcher and the pilot-in-command shall share pertinent and related flight information, including any proposed changes to the Operational Flight Plan.

After the pilot-in-command accepts the Operational Flight Plan, the flight dispatcher and the pilot-in-command share responsibility for Flight Watch. Once a flight has commenced, the final decision on any changes to the Operational Flight Plan shall be taken by the pilot-in-command based on considerations of safety. For the purpose of operational control systems, a flight is deemed to be "commenced" after brake release for take-off.

Limited pilot self-dispatch of flights may be permitted at those enroute stops where a lack of communications facilities prevents the co-authority dispatch of a flight. In such cases, (name of air operator) shall develop, and submit to Transport Canada - Civil Aviation for approval, these additional procedures are intended to compensate for the lack of flight dispatcher participation in the flight's next operational flight plan.

Chapter 3 - General Operational Control Policies

3.01 Safety

Safety is the most important consideration in all air operations. The operating philosophy of (Name of air operator) concludes that safety is an essential ingredient to success. Every policy or procedure shall be developed around such safety-oriented guidelines. Knowing and adhering to safe practices that have been established for the mutual benefit of both Flight Operations and Flight Dispatch personnel are essential to the prevention of mishaps. BE PROACTIVE NOT REACTIVE.

3.02 Personal Conduct

(Name of air operator) expects all employees to accept certain responsibilities for adhering to business principles in matters of personal conduct and to exhibit a high degree of personal integrity. Acceptable conduct involves not only sincere respect for the rights and feelings of others but assurance that personal conduct in both business and personal life avoids any action that might: Be harmful to the employee himself, other employees, the Company, or cause any unfavorable reaction for current or potential internal and external customers.

Flight Dispatch personnel must use discretion when dealing with the public or news media regarding corporate matters prior to being permitted to participate in interviews or make public statements. Approval from (Name of person) is also required prior to representing (Name of air operator) in any public forum (i.e. speaking engagements, school career days, etc.)

Flight Dispatch personnel contacted either directly or indirectly by the Transport Safety Board of Canada shall refrain from comment on any regular or irregular operations. The Transport Safety Board of Canada representative calling shall be referred to the Flight Safety Branch of (name of air Operator) (phone number and name of the air operators safety representative) for purposes of positive identification and for all briefing/debriefing information being sought.

No person shall be under the influence of alcoholic beverages and/or mind altering drugs, while on duty. Sleeping at any time while performing the duties of Controlling Flight Dispatcher is expressly forbidden.

3.03 Standardization

The use of standardization enhances safety and efficiency by logically assigning to different Flight Dispatch personnel the responsibility for the accomplishment of required tasks. The use of standard procedures reduces the burden of planning and promotes confidence and precision within the Flight Dispatch department.

Although not all eventualities can be foreseen, it has been well proven that the best operations occur when a high level of planning, communications, Flight Dispatch support, and standardization exist.

It is the goal of Flight Dispatch to achieve a precise level of standardization that discourages unsafe practices, carelessness, and the development of individualized procedures, but not so high that operational flexibility, good judgment, and professionalism are discouraged.

3.04 Notice of Violations

Any communication received from Transport Canada by Flight Dispatch personnel concerning an alleged or actual flight violation or incident will be immediately forwarded to the Manager, Flight Dispatch.

3.05 Personal Electronic Devices

While on duty, Flight Dispatch personnel shall not wear headset apparatus for the purposes of listening to non-operational control related broadcasts. The Flight Dispatcher shall at all times, monitor company communications.

3.06 Communications

All Flight Dispatch personnel shall pass the examination for, and be in possession of a valid RADIO TELEPHONE OPERATOR'S RESTRICTED CERTIFICATE.

All Flight Dispatch personnel are personally responsible for ensuring that the Manager, Flight Dispatch is supplied with a duplicate copy of the employee's current RADIO TELEPHONE OPERATOR'S RESTRICTED CERTIFICATE to allow for presentation and review by entitled parties.

All Flight Dispatch personnel shall comply with and adhere to all guidelines as stipulated by Transport Canada for the use and control of radio telephone communications and equipment.

All Flight Dispatch personnel shall conform to proper telephone etiquette by identifying the department name followed by the name of the person the caller has reached.

All incoming Flight Dispatch radio communications shall be challenged by Flight Dispatch personnel immediately upon receipt.

For the continued preservation of safety, if due to individual and/or Flight Dispatch departmental workload requirements, there should become a necessity to prioritize the handling of incoming radio and/or telephone calls, the following sequence shall be followed:

  1. Radio calls associated with airborne flights and flights in motion on the ground that have declared an emergency.
  2. Telephone calls associated with airborne flights and flights in motion while on the ground that have declared an emergency only, if the information supplied is critical to the continued safe conduct of the flight and/or has been specifically requested by the operating Flight Crew and/or controlling Flight Dispatcher.
  3. Radio calls associated with airborne flights operating under normal conditions.
  4. Radio calls associated with flights while in normal motion on the ground during their departure phase of operation.
  5. Radio calls associated with flights while in normal motion on the ground during their arrival phase of operation.
  6. Telephone calls associated with normal operations of either ground or airborne flights.

3.07 Disagreement Resolution Policy

The controlling Flight Dispatcher and the Pilot-in-Command shall make every effort to resolve all disagreements pertaining to the exercising of operational control in a safe, efficient and timely manner.

However, should an irreconcilable disagreement arise between the flight dispatcher and the pilot-in-command concerning a flight, the most conservative course of action shall prevail. Advise from the Manager Flight Dispatch and the Operations Manager will be sought by the pilot-in-command and the dispatcher in order to resolve the disagreement.

If a resolution of the disagreement is unattainable and a delay or cancellation of a flight occurs a full written report outlining the basis of the disagreement will be forwarded by both parties to the Operations Manager.

3.08 Communication Records

Flight dispatchers shall document safety information between flight crews, maintenance and (list any departments supplying operational control with safety related information). The documented information shall be retained for a minimum of (xx days/months).

3.09 Dispatcher Records

The air operator maintains current records for each Flight Dispatch employee that shows whether the individual complies with all training and proficiency checks as stipulated by the Canadian Aviation Regulations. This record system is based and maintained in the Dispatch department located (address where files are maintained). The maintenance of this system is the direct responsibility of the Manager Flight Dispatch.

3.10 Training

Training of all flight Dispatchers will be as per CASS 725.124(21) and further training information can be found in the Dispatcher Training Manual (TP 13498E).

Chapter 4 - Administration Policies

4.01 Objectives

The function of Flight Dispatch is to conduct safe and efficient flight operations in coordination with the Pilot-in-Command and other Departments and Agencies. To achieve these objectives, the Flight Dispatcher must constantly be aware of the changing conditions that affect the operations environment and be prepared to react to these conditions in the proper manner as specified by established regulations, policies and procedures. The Flight Dispatcher is expected to plan ahead, anticipate problems, establish work priorities and exercise good judgment in the performance of his duties.

4.02 Reporting for Duty

Flight Dispatch personnel shall report for duty at the scheduled time and be prepared to assume duties as assigned. The individual shall prior to assignment be aware of his responsibility, authority and the operational criteria associated with the particular assignment.

4.03 Shift/Workload Change Over

Flight Dispatchers upon accepting a shift, assume responsibility and authority over the assigned workload/areas and shall remain on duty until:

  1. relieved by another Dispatcher,
  2. the operation(s) has concluded or,
  3. the controlling Flight Dispatcher has been removed from his assignment by a qualified Manager Flight Dispatch.

4.04 Briefing

A Flight Dispatcher debriefing, at shift changeover, shall consist of a thorough explanation of categories as outlined:

  • Flights under the flight watch phase
  • Upper air charts (applicable to operations)
  • Significant weather charts
  • Surface analysis and weather charts
  • Weather information for origin/destination and alternate airports
  • Pilot reports (PIREPS )
  • Changes to Aircraft Manuals
  • Changes to Operating Manuals
  • MEL Equipment as required

In addition the Flight Dispatcher will provide flight crews on request with a comprehensive weather briefing. The briefing will contain the following information:

  • weather information (this will include origin/destination/alternate and any enroute airports that may effect the flight)
  • NOTAM information for airports and enroute facilities effecting the flight
  • Aircraft serviceability (MEL items etc.)
  • Limitations (any restrictions that maybe imposed by ATC MEL items or air operator policy)
  • Performance limitations (weight, altitude, temperature limitations)
  • Routine and irregular operations (curfew, ATC, labor problems etc.)
  • Any notices or bulletins publish by the air operator or Transport Canada.

Note:  Flight Dispatcher(s) will be considered relieved from duty only when the individual(s) assuming their duties and responsibilities are satisfied with the debriefing. Assumption of the shift by the incoming Flight Dispatcher implies an acceptance of responsibility for the complete operation.

4.05 Operational Control

Operational Control is defined as the exercising of authority by qualified personnel over the formulation, execution and amendment of the Operational Flight Plan as detailed in the Canadian Aviation Regulations. The authority for Operational Control is joint and shared solely between the Pilot-in-Command and the controlling Flight Dispatcher. For operation purposes, Operational Control commences (hours prior to flight departure) and terminates upon confirmation of the flight's arrival at destination.

There are two key Flight Dispatcher activities associated with the exercising of Operational Control, they being pre departure preparation and Flight Watch. It is the Company's expectation that each Flight Dispatcher will prioritize workload responsibilities in such a manner as to guarantee that the performance of Flight Watch always takes priority over pre departure preparation and planning activities.

Flight crews and dispatches planning multiple flight legs must insure the flight plans remain valid. Flight crews on arrival at the down line station will check for any revisions to the original flight plan. Dispatchers will advise down line stations of revised flight plans and a confirmation from the station must be sent when the revised flight plan has been received and accepted by the pilot-in-command.

In the event that Operational Control activities should escalate to a point where pre departure preparation activities may begin to adversely affect the Flight Dispatchers ability to perform adequate Flight Watch, the individual shall initiate the following procedure:

  • reduction in pre departure activity in order to maintain a safe Flight Watch
  • reschedule normal pre departure activities up to and including the delaying and/or cancellation of non-operating flights under his operational control

4.06 Workload Management

Normal priorities are listed below; however adjustments for daily operations are expected. The urgency of any operational condition should dictate the following order of work priority:

EMERGENCY AND SAFETY related situations will be handled with top priority.

ADVICE TO PILOTS shall be primarily given prior to departure and be of sufficient detail as to allow the Pilot-in-Command to discharge his responsibilities under the Canadian Aviation Regulations. Updates en route are on an as required basis.

Safety related conditions such as:

  • sigmets, turbulence and thunderstorms on route of flight.
  • Changes to operational environment such as updated wind information, alternate and destination weather advice, terminal delays, inoperative facilities, field conditions, diversion advice.
  • Securing MEL approval.
  • Revisions to Operational Flight Plans and Flight Releases.
  • Amend previously released flights to reflect OFP changes in operating conditions.
  • Amend flight plans to reflect aircraft changes.
  • Update any performance restrictions due to temperature, pressure, weight etc.
  • Dispatchers are expected to assist other Flight dispatchers as the need requires.
  • Advise management if workload is becoming unmanageable.
  • Answer telephones promptly (giving name and department).
  • Answer radio calls.
  • Read, evaluate and action all written communications dealing with operational control.

The above items do not exclude the Flight dispatcher's responsibility for continual monitoring of weather, facilities, flight progress and performing other dispatch duties.

4.07 Operational Tasks

Address pre-departure issues:

  • Alternate changes
  • Field conditions
  • ATC restrictions
  • Payload changes
  • MEL items
  • Weather conditions effecting Maimum Take off Weights
  • Slot Times
  • Aircraft changes

4.08 Operating Procedures

Aircraft Performance Structural Weight Limitations

The controlling Flight Dispatcher shall maintain an adequate working knowledge of the performance parameters, including performance and structural limitations of the aircraft types operating under his jurisdiction. This knowledge in conjunction with meteorological and operational analysis shall be used to:

Establish the Maximum allowable takeoff weight based on:

  • Structural limitations
  • Aircraft performance
  • Runway limiting factors
  • En route terrain clearance

Establish the Maximum allowable landing weight based on:

  • Structural limitations
  • Aircraft performance
  • Runway limiting factors for destination and alternate terminals.

The (air operators) Runway Analysis Manual provides Weight Limitation Charts for scheduled airports and some frequently used alternates and charter airports.

When calculating airport MTOW limits using the runway analysis manual be aware take-off weights established by this transaction may limit payload. It is essential therefore that Flight Dispatchers closely monitor takeoff weights to ensure maximum payload is carried AND that an overload

Chapter 5 - Flight Planning

5.01 General

In accordance with the classification (Name of the air operator) adheres to the following type of operational flight plan (OFP). 30 items OFP as listed in section 5.02; * 18 items OFP as indicated by asterisk in the list in section 5.02; will be used for local area flying (test flights, training, sightseeing).

Operational flight plans will be issued for all (Name of air operator) flights including test, training and local sightseeing flights.

5.02 Operational Flight Plan

The Minimum Required Content of an Operational Flight Plan is:

  1. * air operator's name;
  2. * date;
  3. * aeroplane registration;
  4. * aeroplane tail number (as applicable);
  5. * aeroplane type and model (as applicable);
  6. * flight number (as applicable);
  7. * type of flight (IFR or VFR) (not required if all the air operator's flights are the same);
  8. * pilot-in-command's name;
  9. * flight dispatcher's name (as applicable);
  10. * departure aerodrome;
  11. * destination aerodrome;
  12. * alternate aerodrome (as applicable), including enroute alternates where required;
  13. * routing to destination by successive navigational way points and a method to obtain associated tracks for each;
  14. * routing to alternate aerodrome (as applicable);
  15. * specification of any way points enroute to satisfy special operations requirements (ETOPS, etc.);
  16. * planned cruise altitudes to destination and alternate (as applicable);
  17. * planned cruise true air speed;
  18. * planned cruise indicated air speed, or mach number (as applicable);
  19. * winds at planned cruise altitude: these may be expressed in terms of direction/velocity or as a component/drift angle;
  20. * temperature at cruise altitude;
  21. * ground speed or wind component during cruise;
  22. * estimated time enroute: if broken down into way point time components, a total shall be specified;
  23. * time from destination to alternate (as applicable);
  24. * distance to destination: if broken down into way point distance components, a total shall be specified;
  25. * distance from destination to alternate (as applicable);
  26. * fuel burn enroute and from destination to alternate;
  27. * fuel required for the type of flight plan for (as applicable):
    1. taxi;
    2. destination;
    3. alternate;
    4. holding reserve; and
    5. additional requirements or enroute reserve (as applicable);
  28. * weights:
    1. total fuel on board;
    2. zero fuel weight, and
    3. planned maximum take-off weight;
  29. *signature of pilot-in-command and the flight dispatcher (as applicable) or alternate means of certifying acceptance; and
  30. * number of persons on board, crew and passengers, as amended by final load figures.

The format of the full operational flight plan shall allow the crew to record the fuel state and the progress of the flight relative to the plan. The operational flight plan may be computer generated or produced manually, working from charts and tables, by either the flight dispatcher or the flight crew. When an operational flight plan is prepared manually, dispatchers will use (name of air operator) approved manual flight plan form

The dispatcher's name will appear on the computer flight plan indicating the dispatchers acceptance. The Captain will sign the flight plan after thoroughly checking its contents. The signing of the flight plan indicates the Captain's approval and acceptance. All discrepancies must be resolved by the Captain and dispatcher prior to the signing of the flight plan.

Manual flight plans will be sent (indicate by which means example FAX teletype etc.) to the pilot-in-command displaying the dispatchers signature in the appropriate box of the manual flight plan.

(Air operators should include here or a reference to a manual that outlines the procedures used by operational control personnel to formulate a computer flight plan)

5.03 Filing Flight Plans

Dispatcher will file the approved flight plan with ATC at least (xx hours) prior to departure. If routing changes are required a new flight plan will be issued and care must be taken to insure the current and valid fight plan is issued to ATC. All flight plan changes will be recorded by the flight dispatcher indicating the time and nature of the change.

5.04 Filing Flight Plans

During those times when the normal communications system fails a pilot may self-dispatch. The Captain will ensure that:

  1. a copy of the operational flight plan is left with a responsible person at the departure airport;
  2. the captain will establish timely communication with the operational control facility as soon as possible after commencement of the flight;
  3. the captain will advise the contents of the flight plan to operational control;
  4. a written report outlining the circumstances will be forwarded to Flight Operations as soon as possible after the termination of the flight.

5.05 Weather Minima

see flight Operations manual (chapter section)

5.06 Take-off and Landing Minima

see Company Operations Manual (chapter section)

5.07 Alternate Airports

see flight Operations manual (chapter section)

5.08 Take-off Alternates

Flight dispatcher will normally provide a notation on the flight plan designating a take off alternate if required. In the event a take-off alternate must be assigned after the flight plan has been issued the dispatcher will:

  1. Contact the flight crew and advise the pilot-in-command the take-off alternate assigned and fuel required;
  2. Record the acceptability of the take-off alternate on the dispatchers flight log;
  3. Flight crews will record the agreed take-off alternate on the operational flight plan.

The flight crew will advise dispatch in the event they become aware a take-off alternate is required. The Captain will advise:

  1. The requirement for a take-off alternate.
  2. Verify the acceptability of the take off alternate suggested
  3. Record the agreed take-off alternate on the operational flight plan

5.09 Auto or Computer Flight Planning

Air operators using computer flight Planning system should outline the process used by the dispatcher in obtaining a flight plan and acceptance by the pilot in command. Items for consideration are:

  • how the flight plan is authorized (example formal signature or electronic signature)
  • revision of flight plans
  • how NOTAM information is displayed on flight plan
  • how weather information is displayed
  • runway restriction information
  • upper air data being used for calculations of fuel

A short explanation of all items on a computerized flight should be available to both dispatchers and pilots.

5.10 Manual Flight Planning

In the event of a computer failure and operational control is unable to produce electronic flight plans the following procedures will be implemented:

  1. Dispatchers will select the optimum altitude for the route and aircraft using the appropriate upper air data.
  2. From the upper air data the average enroute temperature and wind components will be calculated. (see example 5.10).
  3. The burn fuel for the route is obtained from the appropriate aircraft planning section of the air craft manual.
  4. The normal selection of alternates and additional fuels will be calculated using the method above.
  5. A total fuel required for the flight will be provided to the pilot-in-command which will include reserve, alternate, additional, and burn and will constitute the minimum fuel required for the flight.
  6. The max performance take-off weight for the flight will be calculated insuring the max landing weight and/or the max structural take-off weights are not exceeded.
  7. A release message will be sent to the Captain (see example 5.11).

5.11 Manual Planning Fuel Calculations (example)

Fuel Calculation
Route Departure Destination Alternate
Planned Altitude 150 6000
Temperature STD M4 STD
TAS 245  
Wind Component P20K M10K
Ground Speed 265  
Distance 390 90
Time 1:30 :20
Fuel Burn  7500 2500
Additional fuel for (ATC etc.)   1000
Reserve   2200
Max Landing Weight 50000  
Calculated Max Take off Weight = burn + MLW 57500  
Total FOD   5700
Minimum Fuel Required = burn + FOD 13200  
Max Take off Weight 57500  

5.12 Manual Flight Plan Release (example)

If a computer flight planning failure occurs flight dispatchers will forward the following information to the Pilot-in-command. (this is an example only and should be modified to address the air operators needs)


The following is an example message for manual flight planning:

Please hold for Captain (name)
Dispatcher (name) releases FLT 1234/dte YYZ/YUL MIN 13200 MTOW 57500 ALTN YOW
ROUTEING (planned with ATC) (YYZ-SID --------------YUL) DEPARTURE TIME 1400Z TAS 245 kts ETE ****.

(Abbreviations: 1234= flight number, dte = date of operation, YYZ/YUL departure and destination stations, MIN = minimum fuel, MTOW = Max Take-off Weight, ALTN = alternate, FL = Flight Level, TMP = temperature, M = MINUS, P = PLUS, COMP = average component for route using the M or P for Plus or minus components, DIST = distance, ADNL = additional fuel, TAS =true air speed, ETE estimated time enroute.)

Chapter 6 - Emergency Procedures

6.01 Roles and Responsibilities

(this is an example only and will vary with air operator)

Manager Dispatcher

In the event of a major accident, the Manager Dispatch is responsible to the Director Flight Operations.

  • For the over all co-ordination of all flight dispatch duties as outlined in the (name of air operator) Emergency Response manual;
  • For organizing and/or supplying assistance as may be required by the controlling Flight Dispatcher;
  • For ensuring that sufficient Flight Dispatch personnel are available on site to allow for release of the controlling Flight Dispatcher from all Operational Control responsibilities not related to the major accident;
  • To ensure that all documents related to the accident, received from the Controlling Flight Dispatcher, are properly filed in the Flight Safety Incident/Accident File;
  • For performing those Manager Dispatch responsibilities as specified in the (name of air operator) Emergency Response Manual;
  • For advising and updating the Director Flight Operations of all known incident/accident related details.

Controlling Flight Dispatcher

In the event of a major accident, the Controlling Flight Dispatcher is responsible to the Manager Flight Dispatch.

  • For collection of all Flight documents pertaining to the accident and for timely delivery of same to the Manager Dispatch.
  • For operational control of the affected flight until its termination or until formally relieved of responsibility by the Manager Flight Dispatch or the Director Flight Operations

***Note:  being formally relieved of responsibility by the Manager of Dispatcher or the Director Flight Operations does not negate the controlling Dispatcher from continuing to render all possible assistance during the remainder of the emergency.***

  • For obtaining as much information as possible about the nature of the emergency and for the timely forwarding of same to the Manager Dispatch.
  • For distributing assigned workload so full the dispatcher's full attention can be devoted to the accident or incident.
  • For compiling writing and relaying to the Manager Flight Dispatch all data pertinent to the accident or incident.
  • Establish direct communications with the aircraft, where possible.
  • Log in hard copy all instructions at the earliest possible time.
  • When applicable, clear all company radio frequencies of non essential communications.
  • At off-line stations advise, Tower, FSS, and emergency personnel (if applicable).
  • For securing all relevant flight planning documents inclusive of:
    • Teletypes
    • Facsimiles
    • Dispatcher releases
    • Flight Plans
    • MOTAMS
    • Dangerous Goods (if applicable)
    • Weather sequences including and specials
    • Airway and Terminal forecasts for destination and alternates
    • all dispatcher communications with flight
  • for preparing and secure a comprehensive analysis of the actual route and terminal weather covering the specifically the accident scene and include a comparison of actual conditions to forecast conditions.

The procedures on handling threats against (name of air operator) aircraft or property are found in (chapter xx) of the Emergency Response Manual.

6.02 Alarm Call List

See chapter xx of the Emergency Response Manual for a complete list of management phone numbers and the order of call.

6.03 Hazardous Material Call List

In the event of breakage, spillage, contamination, or other incident which causes a hazard to people or property there are several organizations which provide expert assistance or advise. The Controlling Dispatcher must use desecration when calling any of the following organizations. The listed organizations are for emergency use only.


All Hazardous Material Emergencies

Telephone:  1-888-CAN-UTEC (226-8832) or 613-996-6666 (collect calls accepted) or *666 by cellular phone (in Canada Only)
Type Of Assistance:  Technical expertise in handling emergency.

United States

Chemical Emergencies including class B poison

Name:  CHEMTREC (Chemical Transportation Emergency Center)
Telephone:  1-202-483-7616
Type of Assistance:  Technical expertise in handling emergency. Can also provide additional emergency numbers.

Etiological Agents

Name:  U.S. Public Health Service, Center for Disease Control
Telephone:  1-404-633-5313
Type of Assistance:  Technical expertise and guidance.

Radioactive Material

Name:  U.S. Department of Energy, Security Operation Center
Telephone:  1-615-525-7885 or 526-1005
Type of Assistance:  Technical expertise and advise.


© Minister of Public Works and Government Services, Canada, 1999

Permission is granted by the Department of Transport, Canada, to copy and/or reproduce the contents of this publication in whole or in part provided that full acknowledgment is given to the Department of Transport, Canada, and that the material be accurately reproduced. While use of this material has been authorized, the Department of Transport, Canada, shall not be responsible for the manner in which the information is presented, nor for any interpretations thereof.

The information in this copy of publication may not be updated to reflect amendments made to original content. For up-to-date information contact the Department of Transport, Canada.

The information in this publication is to be considered solely as a guide and should not be quoted as or considered to be a legal authority. It may become obsolete in whole or in part at any time without notice.

TP 13561E

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